NO-ONE denies there can be accidents in greyhound racing, but officials say it is how occurrences are minimised and care for the dog in the aftermath of an accident that are vitally important.
As Bathurst's racing faithful headed to Sydney to join Tuesday's rally to try and keep their industry alive, one official spoke exclusively to the Western Advocate about how they manage on-track incidents.
Midway through Monday night's racing at Kennerson Park, race four favourite Ef Ay Zarr tumbled in wet conditions on the first corner.
As the rest of the pack went racing past, the 23-month-old female lay on the ground yelping loudly in pain.
She rose to her feet on her own and moved a couple of steps as, trackside, trainers, stewards and others ran towards the stricken dog.
It was immediately calmed down and stretchered off towards on the on-site vet.
At every single race across NSW a vet is present and ready to help dogs just like Ef Ay Zarr if they are injured.
NSW Greyhound Breeders Owners and Trainers Association operations manager Ellen Harris was at the Bathurst track on Monday and admitted witnessing an incident like this is distressing for all involved.
“No-one in our industry likes seeing their animals distressed in any way,” she said. “Trainers spend so much time with their greyhounds so have a strong connection with them.”
Following the vet check of Ef Ay Zarr, a steward’s report was lodged and a 21-day incapacitation certificate issued.
Ms Harris said an incapacitation certificate was a way veterinarians and stewards ensured the greyhound was given a minimum recovery time.
Yass man Neil Staines is the owner of Ef Ay Zarr and he was the first to reach the dog after it tumbled.
“It’s very upsetting, we spend 24-7 with them,” he said.
“She was in shock. She did a fan muscle, it’s a muscle that runs up the side of the ribs and it will make her lift her leg a bit. She has a bit of a limp this morning [Tuesday], but she was jumping up in the kennel this morning.”
Mr Staines said it was very upsetting for all involved to see any greyhound injured during a race.
“People just don’t understand how much work goes into the dogs, they’re finely tuned athletes,” he said.
Despite extensive industry reforms during the last 15 months, Mr Staines said further work should be done on standardising tracks so less dogs are injured during races.
“Uniform tracks could stop more incidents … I think we need more one-turn tracks. There’s things we could do to make it safer,” he said.